Loblaw to Spend $150 Million More Every Year to Support Canadian Farmers
BRAMPTON, ON - Loblaw is thinking local in a big way as it moves forward. The Brampton-based company recently announced that plans to spend $150 million more every year with Canadian farmers by 2025, as it purchases local and fresh produce from farmers residing within the country, rather than importing from those located around the world.
The money that Loblaw spends will go toward innovative growing methods or the planting of non-traditional crops. This investment will extend Canada’s growing season, which is known for its unique climate conditions, and bring “Grown in Canada” labels to produce that was previously imported from thousands of miles away.
"This effort is a large and logical extension of commitments we've been making for decades," said Frank Pagliaro, Loblaw's Vice President of National Produce/Floral Procurement, shared. "We're investing in Canadian innovation, supporting local farmers, extending shelf life to offer fresher goods, serving new tastes, and helping the environment by reducing food waste and the carbon footprint generated by international shipments. And, our customer loves every one of these details."
Canada's growing season typically only a few months long, and Canadian farmers focused on an established crop lineup. Still, Loblaw’s stores—including Loblaws, Zehrs, Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, and more—use nearly half of Canadian-grown produce when in season, working with around 300 domestic growers to provide the goods.
The major investment that Loblaw is now making comes after it spent recent years working with Canadian farmers, as the partnerships sought the growth of more multicultural produce not native to Canada originally, such as bok choy, long eggplant, methi leaf, napa cabbage, and okra. While traditionally grown in Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Central America, these produce items bear “Grown in Ontario” and “Grown in Quebec” labels with the help from Loblaw’s pursuit for more Canadian-grown produce, according to a press release.
"For decades, we have worked with local farmers to feed our national appetite for Canadian-grown food," Loblaw Companies Chairman and CEO Galen G. Weston said. "We are applying new resources to accelerate that work, helping Canadian farmers find new opportunities to provide global products and year-round freshness, grown right here at home."
Loblaw’s funding goes well beyond Canadian farmers, reaching into the indoor farming and greenhouse communities, too. By taking a stand with these businesses, Loblaw hopes to create a steady supply of fresh produce that would be out of season and unavailable or imported from other countries otherwise.
These efforts can be seen in Loblaw’s President’s Choice brand, which is a product of the retailer’s ties with various greenhouse operations to bring Canadian-grown berries from January through December to Canadian consumers. Another example is the investment that Loblaw is making into a pilot program of a vertical farm operation in Newfoundland, to where fresh produce often makes long journeys to arrive, bringing fresh produce to the region in new and innovative ways.
How will this strategy of investment boost fresh produce in Canada and beyond, and will we see more retailers join in on these efforts? AndNowUKnow will keep you posted!